Stories tagged: poverty

Poverty Reduction: Three Recent Reports

In preparation for the UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals next week, three recently published reports on poverty will be presented on Friday 17 September at the UN Headquarters in New York. Poverty reduction is a central figure of the international development agenda, and strategies and policies to address it are multiple.

The event this week will offer a platform to debate the most effective ways at reducing poverty rates around the world. The discussion will include presentations by the UN Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), and the Chronic Poverty Research Centre.

Each of the reports featured at the discussion address different facets of poverty-reduction, but together they examine what works and what has gone wrong in international policy decisions, and the range of measures that countries can adopt to alleviate poverty.

The following offers a short summary of each report:

Rethinking Poverty: Report on the World Social Situation 2010: UNDESA

  • Disputes the contemporary vision of poverty reduction and affirms that eradicating poverty requires actions leading to sustainable economic growth, employment creation and social development as an integrated framework of economic and social policies.

The commitment made in the MDGs is to eradicate absolute poverty by halving the number of people living on less than US$1.25 a day.

Combating Poverty and Inequality: Structural Change, Social Policy and Politics: UNRISD

  • Seeks to explain why people are poor and why inequalities exist, and argues that eradicating poverty requires actions that combine economic development objectives with active social policies and forms of politics that elevate the interests of the poor in public policy.

Escaping Poverty Traps (The Chronic Poverty Report 2008-09): CPRC

  • Explains five main traps that underpin chronic poverty and outlines key policy responses to these areas, emphasising the need for a ‘just social compact’ between citizens and states.

The number of people living on less than US$1.25 a day declined from 1.9 billion in 1981 to 1.4 billion in 2005.

Outcome statement from COP15 Agriculture Day

Agriculture: Where Poverty Reduction, Food Security

and Climate Change Intersect

Statement of Outcomes from Agriculture and Rural Development Day

12 December 2009, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen

A group of more than 300 policymakers, farmers and scientists meeting in Copenhagen today urged on negotiators at the United Nations Climate Change Conference to recognize agriculture’s vital role in climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The group strongly endorsed the proposed target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to avoid a temperature increase of more than 2 degrees C. They stressed that reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture is essential for achieving the target. Farmers and researchers are already finding climate change solutions. On that basis, the agricultural community intends to play a pro-active role in actions aimed at reducing emissions, while increasing the productive capacity of agriculture through the development of sustainable practices.

Agriculture faces the challenge of nearly doubling food production in order to meet the food needs of a population expected to reach 9 billion by mid-century but without increasing the sector’s emissions.. Across most of the tropics, agriculture will continue to face the enormous challenge of adapting to harsh and unpredictable growing conditions.

To meet the climate challenge, substantial additional financing and investment will be needed across the entire rural value chain. New investments must be handled transparently to ensure that adaptation and mitigation are not undermined by reduced support for global food security and rural development. In addition, new investment must be accessible to all stakeholders, including researchers and members of civil society, especially farmers and their associations.

Specifically, the group urged climate negotiators to agree on the early establishment of an agricultural work program under the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA).

Agriculture and Development Day was organized by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development, the Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, the International Federation of Agriculture Producers, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the Global Forum for Agricultural Research, the Earth System Science Partnership.

Petition to End Hunger Coincides with World Food Summit

On 16-18 November the UN World Food Summit will take place in Rome. At the forefront of the agenda is how to address the world food crisis and increasing hunger levels.

Coinciding with the summit, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has launched 1BillionHungry.org, a petition to promote an end to hunger. The web site is premised on the fact that one billion people currently live in chronic hunger.

Jacques Diouf, the FAO Secretary-General, is recorded counting out the amount of time another child soemwhere in the world dies from hunger: 6 seconds.

To support the initiative, all you need to do is enter an e-mail address and your currently country location.

A Closer Look at Mozambique’s Agricultural Production System

In Mozambique, differences in rainfall contribute to higher levels of poverty in drier areas.

Poverty levels in drier regions of the country range from 67 to 85 percent, said Professor Firmino Mucavele, Director for Academic Reform and Regional Integration at Eduardo Mondlane University in a presentation of his analysis of agriculture’s true contribution to the Mozambican economy.

Mucavele, a Food Agriculture Natural Resource Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) board member, outlined regional disparities within Mozambique, whose north and eastern districts receive as much as twelve times the amount of rainfall as the southern regions surrounding the Maputo capital.

Crop productivity is also connected to rainfall since irrigation infrastructure in the country is effectively non-existent. Of the 3.3 million hectares suitable for irrigation throughout the country, only fifty thousand hectares (or only a miniscule 0.13 percent) have this resource at their disposal.  Mucavele said:

The common denominator of the smallholder farmers is low productivity, limited ability of households to generate savings and food insecurity.

He added that access to key inputs is also low; only 2 percent of farmers use fertilisers and only 5 percent use pesticides. Underdeveloped capital markets and harvest losses averaging 40 percent also contribute to decreased productivity.

To boost the contribution of the agricultural sector, Mucavele made several key recommendations. He highlighted that the uptake of improved seeds and better production methods could boost crop yields; the yields from maize, which is Mozambique’s primary crop by volume, could be increased seven-fold, from 800 kilograms per hectare to as much as 6,500.  He also pointed out that introducing value-added processes to raw commodities could also boost export earnings, with milled maize fetching five times the price of whole kernels.

Lastly, a concerted effort to reform and support agricultural markets caould stem disruptive variations in crop prices and ensure Mozambique’s farmers a viable source of livelihoods.

Cautioned Mucavele: “Social, environmental and institutional stability depends on food security.”

Pope Calls for Increased Agricultural Investment

1916676488_c4a0b5427ePope Benedict XVI has issued an his third encyclical calling for a restructured global economy.  In it, he also calls for an increased role for agricultural investment in helping to alleviate hunger and poverty in the developing world.

An article by the Associated Press says that the Pope:

specified that aid should go to agicultural development to improve infrastructure, irrigation systems, transport and sharing of agricultural technology.

Farming First Welcomes IFDC to its List of Supporters

Picture 1IFDC has joined the group of organisations supporting the Farming First plan.

IFDC – an International Center for Soil Fertility and Agricultural Development – is a public international organization addressing critical issues such as international food security, the alleviation of global poverty, environmental protection and the promotion of economic development and self-sufficiency. IFDC is helping to enrich and sustain the lives and livelihoods of people around the world.

IFDC is the only non-profit, science-based organization meeting the integrated soil nutrient management needs associated with a sustainable global food supply. IFDC was established in 1974 in response to the twin crises of food insecurity and rising energy prices. These parallel crises now threaten the world again.

IFDC has helped increase sustainable agricultural productivity in more than 130 nations through the development and transfer of effective and environmentally sound plant nutrient technology and agricultural marketing expertise. IFDC has also contributed to the development of institutional capacity-building in 150 countries through nearly 1,000 training programs, primarily as part of IFDC’s long-term agricultural development projects. These collaborative partnerships combine cutting-edge research and development with on-site training and education. Currently IFDC staff members are serving in more than 20 nations throughout Africa, the Near East and the Far East.

In February, Dr. Marjatta Eilitta, Director for IFDC’s North and West Africa Division, spoke at a Farming First conference held during the UN Commission on Sustainable Development preliminary session in New York.  You can watch a video of her presentation here.